Children on the Move – Exploring Issues of Participation and Protection Under Scots Law

On 24 March 2023, Professor Janeen Carruthers hosted a workshop at the University of Glasgow on the subject of, ‘CHILDREN ON THE MOVE’ – EXPLORING ISSUES OF PARTICIPATION AND PROTECTION UNDER SCOTS LAW’. Invited experts from academia, legal practice and policymaking bodies gathered to discuss the various legal contexts that involve children in Scotland who are subject to a change of personal, domestic circumstances, to assess how well they are supported and protected by Scots law, and to consider whether there is scope for doing that better or more effectively in contemporary child and family law. The movement of children presents opportunity, but also challenges – practical and legal. ‘Movement’ was considered, first, in a domestic and domestic law sense – through a private law, public law and also criminal law lens – and then, in a cross-border sense – involving, among other topics, instances of family relocation, international child abduction, asylum seeking children, and child victims of human trafficking.

The day’s programme was divided into three sections: HEARING AND SUPPORTING CHILDREN ON THE MOVE – considering child participation rights in both private and public law proceedings; HEARING AND SUPPORTING CHILDREN IN CROSS-BORDER CASES – looking at child participation in the international context; and PROTECTING CHILDREN ON THE MOVE – considering how our legal systems can best protect child victims of domestic abuse, or of harmful traditional practices, and how special attention has to be given to helping refugee and migrant children secure their rights in Scotland.

Speakers were Dr Lesley-Anne Barnes Macfarlane, University of Glasgow (Children’s participation rights in the context of family separation, divorce and dissolution); Dr Michelle Donnelly, University of Strathclyde (Children’s participation rights in the context of children’s hearings); Nikki Hunter, Solicitor Advocate, Morton Fraser LLP (The voice of the child in parental/family relocation disputes); Professor Janeen Carruthers, University of Glasgow (The voice of the child in international child abduction disputes); Dr Nazia Yaqub, Leeds Beckett University (A child rights analysis of parental child abduction to Islamic Law countries); Dr Rachel McPherson, University of Glasgow (Protecting child victims of domestic abuse); and Farida Elfallah, Associate, Scottish Refugee & Migrant Centre (Refugee and migrant children – realising their rights in Scotland).

Thanks were extended to THE CLARK FOUNDATION FOR LEGAL EDUCATION (SC018520), which provided financial support of the Workshop.

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